Local residents undertook a seven-hour rescue mission yesterday to bring a beached blue whale back out to sea, which had swum into Hveravík bay at Steingrímsfjördur in the Strandir region in the West Fjords.
Whale watching in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
A rope was tied to the whale’s tail to drag it out of the bay with a boat. “They [the men onboard] made a few attempts but [the whale] always returned to shore,” postman Jón Halldórsson, who observed the rescue attempts, told Morgunbladid.
The boat wasn’t powerful enough. “The animal was so strong that it just took control and dragged the boat, which weighs more than 20 tons, backwards at a speed of up to seven miles back to the shore,” Halldórsson said. “It was a huge animal, probably more than 20 meters long.”
After a few failed attempts a more powerful boat arrived at the scene and finally the whale could be dragged back out to sea.
There was a lot of blood in the water and Halldórsson believes that the whale had swum to the shore to die as whales sometimes do when they’re severely injured. The whale had a wound on its belly and Halldórsson is uncertain whether it will survive.
“In centuries past people processed whales in that exact spot,” Halldórsson said of Hveravík, where remains of a whaling station have been found. The postman therefore said the whale had chosen a suitable place to die but hoped that it will survive with yesterday’s efforts.